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Go Ask Alice

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Go Ask Alice is a very unusual book. It is not the regular kind of fictional prose, where the author tells the story, and everybody knows, that the story has been written by the author. The book is interesting and exciting, but, unfortunately, it does not correspond to the reality. It is rather a reflection of the author’s comprehension of real life and his attitude to the events or to a certain order of things. People used to read another kind of books. In documentaries, the author attempts to reflect historic events and his point of view, his attitude to the period of time reflected in the book. In such a case, general flow of events is more or less close to the historical ones, but there are some facts and conversations which have been developed by the author’s imagination. Regarding Go Ask Alice, one cannot really define what category of fiction books it belongs to.

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The title of the book is only beginning of the mystery. “Go Ask Alice” is a line from the song of a famous rock band, “Jefferson Airplane”. The song itself refers to Carroll’s story “Alice in Wonderland”. Alice is not the name of the main character of the book. But once it becomes evident that Alice from wonderland must have felt something similar.

The book tells the reader a story of a young female, a girl, whose parents do not pay enough attention to their daughter. It is not just because they are bad and careless parents. But they are modern western people and like many other parents are too occupied with their success, with their work and careers. They simply have no time for their daughter. Meanwhile, she is very lonely and unhappy. She as only one companion and an intimate friend, namely her diary. And she shares her most serious thoughts and deepest emotions with it.

The origin of the diary caused numerous arguments. On the one hand, the editor of the book claims the diary is an edited and improved version of her former client. It was a girl who was addicted to drugs. One day, soon after the events described in the diary, and after she started her new life and said goodbye to her diary, she was found dead due to an overdose.

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This is not very strange to a reader who follows the events in a diary. The girl comprehends the diary almost as an alive friend, personalizes it. In one of the entries she shares her secrete with the diary, “Confidentially, Diary, I still care” (Anonymous, 1971). And once she even asks it for help, as if the diary could give her advice, “Oh please, Diary, help me to be strong and consistent” (Anonymous, 1971).

The main character of the diary and, at the same time, the author never mentions her name. She once associates herself with Alice from Wonderland, since she believes to have similar feelings due to taking drugs.

A good girl, as she is, feels very lonely, and then her situation even worsens, as her parents move to another place. It is a larger town, a place, where they have better opportunities. But the girl is absolutely lost here. The few friends she has, being an introverted person, are not there to support her. She lost all the connections. But coming to her native town for a visit, she is warmly accepted by the cool folks from her former school, the folks who never even noticed her before. But now she is a lady fromm a big city, and they want to become her friends. She is pleased and she loves her new company. She has not had anybody to communicate with for such a long time. Her company does not know that she takes LSD, mixed into the drink. She likes how it feels. She cannot stand the thought of taking drugs, but she must try heavier narcotic only due to her curiosity. The girl thinks that she will never become addicted, but she needs to be aware. She needs to know what it is. People around her do not know what they discuss. They only preach and do not understand the things they speak about. Unfortunately, everything is not as simple as she believes. She gets more and more addicted. She promises herself to stop taking drugs and tell her mother about the actual state of the things. She wants to ask her for help, but she cannot, she is too week for it.

The girl takes part in a horrible battle, probably, the most difficult one – a battle with her unknown self. She knows she needs to struggle, but she has no motive. If she wins, there is nothing good beyond this illusionary world. There is nothing to enjoy, nothing to aspire to. She realizes that she needs to struggle. But how much can one do, if there is no true motivation and support?

The book is a very tough reminder to the modern western civilization, to the people busy with their own selves and not noticing anything and anybody around, even their own children. And the book caused big discussion. It was a kind of stress for the society. Though it was first published almost half a century ago, the book remains relevant nowadays. It is still being republished and attracts great public attention. Moreover, the book has been translated into a number of languages.

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